Picture courtesy of Surfing Nation Magazine / Pro Surfer Isaac Vega calling off the mission to save some lives.
There used to be a time when there was enough room for everybody in the lineup and the ones who were learning to surf, used to do it on white water.
Learning how to surf have become one of the most famous attractions all over Costa Rica. This amazing tropical country, gifted with 630 miles of Pacific coastline full of world-class waves, quickly became the perfect place for people around the world to get introduced to this passion.
Last week a talented teenager was found dead, he was hit by a uncontrolled longboard rented by a beginner who took a surf lesson at the same spot the previous day. The ones who saw the accident start the search for the kid immediately, but the surfer wasn’t found on time to save his life.
To add to the tragedy the beginner didn’t even know her board had hit the boy, until she realize the whole town was looking for the boy, later that night.
But why did that happened? As there is many people wanting to learn how to surf, there are many “surf schools” to cover the demand. The big mistake is that not every one of them has permissions, qualified instructors (instructors who can surf) and even less schools have certified ones.
That is the problem in paradise. Negligent surf school owners, hire unqualified people to teach you how to surf. They promise you to “stand up in the first lesson” and then create the illusion that you are ready to go and conquer the lineup by your self. The problem is that an irresponsible owner means more irresponsible employees. They will take you to surf spots above your level of surfing. Additionally they do not teach you the correct ways to handle your board for your own safety and the rest of the people in the water. There may be the ratio of one instructor per four students of two for a group of 8 or more.
This absolutely means longboards will flying all over the place. The promise of you standing up during the first class, may distract everybody from the whole “passion of surfing” idea, and this makes this a risky business for everybody.
You as a customer need to get all the safety information from your instructor. They need to take you to special places for you to learn for real from certified instructors. Whenever you feel ready to go by yourself they need to tell you exactly where to go practice, not only let you rent a longboard and go on your own. That is what you should get from a “surf school”, and you need to know you can demand it.
Please come to Costa Rica, learn how to surf with certified instructors, don’t trust your safety, and the rest of the people who you share the water with, in the wrong hands.
Its time for the local surfers to re arrange the spots; any topic could be discussed with the right words. It only takes the two parts to understand that is about real people life’s floating in the water.
Costa Rica has many surfers who take this sport as their professional career. Every time you see a kid, a teenager, young surfers giving the best of them in the lineup, they might be also training. The waves are their gym; there is where they get prepared for contests, from the local events to the National Tour and even to represent their country in the National Surfing Team.
Those we see in the water are not only those taking lessons but mixed in the lineup are also the athletes, the current Champions along with the future Champions of any country with waves that you go.
The boy who died last week, was his family’s main economy support and was about to be signed to represent Nicaragua in the National Junior Team for the World Juniors next year. He died three days before his sixteenth birthday.
RIP Weslin Cardosa / In this picture with Pro surfer Anthony Fillingim